Yirra Yaakin (Yir-raarh Yaarh-kin] which means “Stand Tall” in Noongar language, is one of Australia’s leading Aboriginal performing arts organisations producing award-winning, world-class theatre that is exciting, entertaining, educational, authentic and culturally appropriate.
Established in 1993, the Year of Indigenous People, as Yirra Yaakin Noongar Theatre, we started off with one successful funding application, three staff members and the desire to provide the Aboriginal community with an artistic outlet for positive self-determination.
More than twenty two years later, Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company, with a combined board and staff of 19, has evolved into a respected cultural leader and artistic hub for Aboriginal people from all over Western Australia, Australia, and indeed, the world. Our stories have reached 13 countries in five continents and we have won awards for our theatre, governance and our partnerships, including a prestigious Sidney Myer Award for our record of facilitating Indigenous artistic programs.
The company has commissioned and premiered over 50 new theatre works. These include major Festival presentations such as Waltzing the Wilarra, One day in 67, Aliwah, Windmill Baby, and Cruel Wild Woman. Prominent Aboriginal writers have included Dallas Winmar, Mitch Torres, David Milroy, Sally Morgan and Derek Nannup, amongst many others who have contributed to the Yirra Yaakin experience.
Yirra Yaakin is proud to have produced a body of work unequalled in innovation, excellence and cultural significance. However, it’s not just our professional performance program that has won us awards and critical acclaim. Yirra Yaakin has always had a broad education and community engagement program with a development base to ensure we continue to have Indigenous trainees working within the Australian theatre industry. Yirra Yaakin’s priority is to ensure Aboriginal theatre remains under Aboriginal control and keeps providing opportunities for Aboriginal artists at all levels of theatre development, creation and production.